MIDTOWN, Manhattan. — Thank God for technology.
Religion is all about coming together but because of social distancing and a desire not to encourage community spread, many are praying alone at work or at home or live-streaming their favorite services.
At Sabbath services at Central Synagogue in Manhattan, the doors to the sanctuary say it all: Temporarily closed because of COVID-19 health concerns.
So the largest Jewish worship broadcast in the world is being livestreamed with not a soul attending the service in person except for two rabbis, a cantor and eight musicians.
“It was weird at first but we drew energy from the musical teams and we would see familiar names coming up On Facebook,” Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, senior rabbi at Central Synagogue, told PIX11 News. “It was actually really beautiful,” she added.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, the executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis added:“It’s a challenge but I think through technology we’ve been able to stay connected.”
At the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, with a call to prayer five times a day the Imam says attendance is off by 20 to 30%.
“It is not mandatory to come in times of crisis,” Chernor Jalloh, Imam at Islamic Cultural Center of New York, told PIX11 News. “The life and the safety come first,” he added.
At Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York is urging the faithful to use “Prudential judgment“ on whether or not to attend mass on Sundays and holidays during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re not going to use holy water,thousand hands going in there. We won’t distribute the precious blood,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, “they won’t be the handshake kiss of peace and if feeling symptoms, please stay home,” he added.
And in the Newark Archdiocese masses are suspended and worshipers are invited to join in a bilingual live stream of Sunday mass at noon time.